A short time ago, I had a free ebook on Kindle. “They Can’t take That Away From Me,”

They Can't Take-ePubCoverMar2013It’s a short story, under my alter ego’s name (J. A. Menzies), and it’s not quite like anything else I’ve written. Closer to thriller than mystery.

I thought I’d use this as a jumping-off place to talk about one of the new models of publishing.

My goal is to get more readers reading my books. The more people reading my books, the more motivated I’ll be to write books.

But how do I find more readers? Especially since we’re more and more internet-focused.

The theory is that as I get more books out there, more readers will find me. So I added some short stories. And made it clear they are short stories.

And I am now getting them a little more attention by making them free for short periods. (They’re normally 99 cents each.)

So it’s not just one random short story, but there’ll be another story, and another, and of course, I have two very long books. And I might even make one of them free instead of the huge price of $2.99. And soon they’ll be another very long book.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-red-funnel-white-background-isolation-image27376745This is called a funnel, and the idea is that you give people something free or nearly free, and hope they like it and come back for more.

Stores have used this for years–they call it a loss leader. You go to get the cheap item and end up buying other things.

So, the real goal at the end of the path is to sell my new mystery, Shadow of a Butterfly, when it comes out next year. And the book after that. And so forth.

Our plan is to start with this story free for 5 days, and then a second story that will be free for 5 days, and then after Christmas, another story, and then the first book, all leading up to the launch of Shadow, which will not be free, but will be reasonably priced.

This is essentially one way books are being sold these days. Especially fiction.

Of course, for this system to work, you need three things:

1. A minimum of 3 books that are related in some way (series, same genre, etc.) And maybe some offshoots, like my short stories.

2. Sales (or in this case free downloads) which result in the book or short story rising in the chain so it gets into the top 100 in its classification, and maybe even makes it to number 1.  The higher it goes, the more people become aware of it.

3. Reviews (preferably 4 or 5 star) which depends on readers liking the book or story enough to post. And I guess these days is acting as the barometer of the books quality. If there are no or few reviews, readers assume no one likes it or no one is reading it.

Getting lots of sales or even free downloads, and lots of 4 and 5 star reviews, ultimately equals sales of the rest of your other products.

Yes, books are products. And this is a business.

If you need more of an explanation, you might want to check out the book Write. Publish. Repeat. (FYI: It’s often on sale in a package deal or something.)

So watch for the next free book I have out, and if you like it, please write a review and don’t forget to check the back for my other books.


For some reason, N. J. Lindquist was born with the impression that, whenever she learned something new, she had an obligation to teach it to other people.

While she's the first to admit that her compulsion to teach can be really annoying, she's also discovered that there are some people who are happy to learn from her.

This blog is therefore a place for her to share what she's learned about writing with people who are interested in what she has to say.

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  1. I didn’t know it was called “funneling” but I’m also trying this approach. I made my devotional on prayer, Feed Your Spirit, free on Amazon and other e-book formats. I’m hoping that the people that like devotionals, and like my style of writing will be interested in buying my other short devotionals.

  2. I am looking toward this kind of model. My big book had five sections. Now it is five books. They are all related to the work I do – prayer therapy – and will work together to give an overview of my perspective on the topic of life transformation through prayer therapy.

  3. I ‘bought’ your free story and look forward to reading it. I did this in 2013 with my ‘NEIGHBORS’ Series and also as a collaborative group on a Sci-fi series called COLONY ZERO. I didn’t know it was called ‘funnelling’ however. I have found that as a READER I like this model. I am a busy person and sometimes bemoan the fact that I don;t have enough time to read among others things going on in my life… but I can sit down and read something short and I look forward to the next instalment, much as a person who follows a certain series on TV would. I think it is a brilliant idea.

    1. Thanks, Tracy.

      The idea of a funnel has been a round a long time in marketing. The idea is that a lot of people will try something that’s free or low cost, so you give them a little but make sure it’s good. And then some people will come back for more and pay more for it. And from those people, a few will pay a lot for even more. So, for example, you might have a free video, followed by a 2-hour course you pay for, followed by a 2-day conference or a year’s mentorship or whatever works for that product.

      It’s application to ebooks makes a lot of sense. People are willing to try something it it’s free or 99 cents or whatever is cheap for that item, and if they like it, then they’ll look for more. There probably isn’t ever going to be a huge ticket item, but if you can keep producing books that more and more readers want to read, you can make a profit.


  4. I have to admit that in my current state of trembling (being nudged to have a book launch next month), this kind of approach seems more doable, and maybe more effective than an Alberta “come out in the cold and see me sit in a book store” event. LOL I wonder how I might adapt the idea as an alternative to a book launch?

    1. While the old model is quickly changing, you still can’t beat the personal face-to-face touch – assuming you live in a place where they are friends and family members who will come and support you.

      Since many writers are introverts, of course the face-to-face launch requires rest and recharging your batteries afterwards. But it can be pretty cool if you have people who will come.

      If you don’t know enough people to make it worth doing, that’s a different story.


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